Baidu’s new robot smart speakers are nothing like Amazon’s Echo

Chinese creators Baidu are diversifying the booming smart speaker market with their own unique additions.

Baidu have earned a reputation for having built one of the first deep dive artificial intelligence systems. But they’re only now putting it into their first product with a series of smart speakers that look like no others.

Baidu unveiled 3 products in their ‘Raven’ series, Baidu purchased Raven Tech in February, at their annual world event, a smart speaker and two smart speakers that are also small robots capable of much more. The smart speaker that doesn’t act like a robot is the one we know the most about at the moment, and what we do know is intriguing.

The Raven H is the leading product for Baidu features voice control and music streaming as you’d expect, but it does other things a bit differently. For a start its LED display touch controller can be removed from its base plate and control the base from anywhere, even still using voice control. Not just that, using the detachable controller you can control any Raven compatible smart devices.

The Raven’s intelligent AI goes further than most existing systems. As an example of its power Baidu say if you ask the speaker what time a football match is on the speaker won’t just tell you, it will then ask if you want a reminder. If you say yes it will set an alarm and can even turn your TV on automatically before the match starts.

Raven Tech founder who is now general manager of intelligent hardware units at Baidu, Cheng (Jesse) Lyu said: “Humans and machines have been interacting with one another for years, but Raven H aims to create a world in which this interaction is seamless. The system, equipped with Baidu’s superior voice technology, DuerOS, provides users with an unprecedented level of understanding from a smart device. It’s adjustable design lets its user move through their home or workspace, while remaining connected to both the Raven H system and their personal world.”

Also at Baidu World, Baidu debuted two additional Raven series products. The second Raven series product, raven R, is the world’s first automated six-axis robot with emotional intelligence. Building on features of raven H, raven R has six human-like “joints” that allow it to move flexibly following a user’s command, and express emotions to enhance the interactive experience.

The third member of the Raven series line-up is a concept AI Home Robot, raven Q. While still in development, raven Q will eventually integrate multiple technologies such as simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), computer vision, voice recognition and natural language processing.

Whilst the Raven R and Q have some way to go yet the Raven H will be available for purchase next month for RMB 1,699 or roughly $256.

Lamborghini’s new ‘self-healing car’ intoduced by Tobu

Lamborghini have revealed their new beautiful and innovative Terzo Millenio car and you may recognise the song it’s being paraded out to.

The other day we were browsing Instagram when we had an exciting surprise as Lamborghini’s new car advert came up. As we were watching we realised that Tobu’s wicked track Colors was the soundtrack to the advert.

Tobu has long been working with us here at RouteNote so every time he reaches another landmark we feel the need to celebrate as well! Tobu has been doing amazing work in recent years and is really growing into a powerhouse in EDM, clear to see in his constant successes, the most recent Lamborghini’s acknowledgement of his great music.

Check out the advert below for the awesome looking new Lamborghini Terzo Millenio where you can hear Colors by Tobu:

And if you’re itching for the full track after that snippet then no worries, here it is in full:

Support Tobu:

iTunes – itunes.apple.com/us/artist/tobu/id611180201
Spotify – open.spotify.com/artist/1feoGrmmD8QmNqtK2Gdwy8
Website – tobumusic.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/tobuofficial
YouTube – www.youtube.com/tobuofficial
Twitter – twitter.com/tobuofficial
SoundCloud – soundcloud.com/7obu

Ableton Live 10: Everything you need to know about the next Ableton

The announcement of a new version of Ableton always gets us excited and they’ve just announced Ableton Live 10 with awesome new features.

Ableton have announced Live 10, a bunch of new features, wicked new devices, improvements and when we can expect to get all that. Strap in producers, recorders, anyone who has ever used Ableton, because their first full version update in 5 years is going to be a big one.

2013 was when Ableton launched the last full version of their incredibly popular DAW – Live 9. Whilst it’s seen numerous updates keeping it running and adding cool new features Live 10 will be a massive overhaul of the software.

Capture

Of course the update comes with loads of new features, tools and things you can use. One of the new features that caught my eye early was the new Capture mode that makes jamming, creating and recording on the fly seamless and simple.

When an idea emerges, press Capture after you played it. Live will match your tempo and timing, and start your melody or groove in a perfect loop. You can also use Capture to progress your songs: add new parts or overdub MIDI into existing clips without breaking your flow—just press Capture after you’ve played it right.

Edit multiple MIDI clips

 Create drums and bass, or chords and melody in tandem. Work with multiple MIDI clips across multiple tracks within a single view—in both Session and Arrangement. Now you can edit smarter and take better control of the musical relationships in your song.

Create and arrange more fluidly

The Arrangement View has been optimised for quick creative editing and more efficient song creation. Easily stretch a clip, slide its content or create audio fades with new clip interactions that work directly in the Arrangement. Automate with greater control using grid snapping and other improved breakpoint interactions.

Focus instantly on what you need to with quick keyboard shortcuts: toggle automation visibility for all tracks, zoom in and out of selections of your song, nudge clips, and even make audio edits like reversing samples.

Lets look at the 4 awesome devices new to Live 10:

Wavetable

Immediately playable, infinitely capable, Wavetable is a new synthesizer built by Ableton. Shape, stretch and morph sounds using wavetables derived from analog synths, and a range of other instruments and sounds. Start sculpting sounds right away—even without a deep knowledge of synthesis—or explore its rich palette and potential through an intuitive interface.

Echo

Echo brings together the sound of classic analog and digital hardware delays in a single device—your new go-to delay. Drive and shape sounds with its analog-modeled filters, turn up the noise and wobble for vintage imperfections, or add modulation and reverb to create diffuse soundscapes, wailing feedback and more.

Drum Buss

Drum Buss is a one-stop workstation for drums, capable of adding subtle character or bending and breaking drums to your will. Add warmth and distortion with drive and crunch, take control of dynamics with compression and transient shaping, dial in and tune boom and control bass decay with the dedicated low-end section.

Pedal

With separate circuit-level models of overdrive, distortion and fuzz guitar pedals, Pedal brings the character of analog stomp boxes to Live. The effect goes all the way from subtle to reckless—it excels at warming up vocals and other instruments, driving synth sounds or completely smashing drums. And of course, it sounds great with guitars.

Beyond what’s already mentioned is still so much more including loads of workflow improvements, new sounds, enhanced power with Push and then some. Find out way more about the massive Live 10 upgrade here: www.ableton.com/en/live/
It’s set for a release early next year and you can get a free upgrade from Ableton Live 9 which happens to be 20% off right now. Go grab it!

Hide behind the sofa, Stranger Things and is back with a terrifying soundtrack

The long awaited follow-up  to Netflix’s 80’s style horror series has dropped and it’s everything you’ve been waiting for and more.

Last year Netflix released the star-studded throwback Stranger Things that became an instantly loved phenomena, combining amazing acting with a uniquely spooky story, 80’s thriller inspiration and a glorious soundtrack. The recipe came together into a perfectly baked show that captured the hearts of millions around the world. Now it’s back.

The show’s second series is now on Netflix in all it’s glory, just in time for the Halloween season. Whilst the show’s glory comes in unifying so many wonderful ingredients, the soundtrack is incredible enough to stand on it’s own as a feat of musical prowess.

The soundtrack was created by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of S U R V I V E after Distasterpeace originally turned down the task for the first series. The two musicians/composers efforts coalesce old-school synth sounds with emotional ambience that can take you anywhere from crying on the floor like a baby to hiding in the bathroom with a knife expecting Jack Nicholson to burst through at any moment.

Stranger Things season series 2 two horror thriller netflix original exclusive halloween the upside down soundtrack michael stein kyle dixon
Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon, engineers behind Stranger Things’ lauded soundtrack

Dixon and Stein created their beautiful, ominous and eerie sounds using a combination of classic and contemporary equipment. Analog synths involved in the process include the Prophet V, Roland SH-2, and a Mellotron as well as a heap of filters and effects that helped shape the alien yet magnificent sounds which are paramount to the unique feeling and atmosphere that envelops Stranger Things.

The first series’ soundtrack was so notable and vital to the success and wonder of Stranger Things that both volumes of the first series’ soundtrack were nominated for the Best Score Soundtrack Category in the 2017 Grammy Awards… seperately! The duo behind it then went on to win the Emmy for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.

You can listen to Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein discuss the creation and inspiration behind the series’ beloved theme song in a new Song Exploder podcast. Listen to it here:

Learn to code music in your web browser by controlling this jazz trio

Have you ever looked at music programming and thought “Nope, that’s far too hard. Goodbye”. Well this new site is here to introduce music coding in a fun and easy way.

Jazzari is a free website that guides you through the basics of programming music with a jazz trio under your control. With a simple layout, groovy sounds and a gorgeous interface Jazzari will have you programming an experimental piece of breakbeat techno with Aphex Twin in no time.

The free site opens up presenting you with 3 spectacled, animated musicians with their notes across 4 bars shown below them. To the right you have your sidebar where you scroll through tutorials, examples and write in your code. At first it can seem extremely intimidating, but start with lesson 1 and in no time you’ll start to understand how simple coding with music can be.

A set arrangement will be created automatically for you which you can edit or delete entirely to create your own loop. With 16 beats to each bar, and 4 bars, you can programme in your drums, keys and bass to create a jazzy rhythm and play around with the different elements of music code. You can even download it as MIDI to use in your DAWs or other software.

Tutorials range all the way from how to input your first note, to changing the volume and length of every hit, randomising certain notes, and even using trigonometry in the advanced stages. It’s easy to find the process overwhelming but by following the guides step to step Jazzari provides potentially the most accessible platform for starting music programming.

Jazzari music coding programming trio jazz code

With a visual layout showing you the timing and notes it’s easy to get tempted to just drag and click your ideas out. Fortunately, Jazzari doesn’t make that possible so you’re forced to create via code. It’s annoying at first but if you’re looking for that experience you can use any of the hundreds of programs that are capable of notation and playback already.

My personal experience, as someone who has never attempted any music programming before, was that this is a fantastic program. Within 10 minutes I had gone from no idea what I was doing, to creating a disjointed yet funky drum pattern. It’s simple enough to breed creativity whilst maintaining the core factors that you need to know when coding music.

Jazzari gets it’s name from the 12th century scholar and inventor Ismail al-Jazari. al-Jazari is said to have invented one of the first ever programmable musical machines. His invention was a “musical automaton, which was a boat with four automatic musicians that floated on a lake to entertain guests at royal drinking parties.”

The creator says that whilst Jazzari may have educational benefits it isn’t meant to actually teach programming or music theory (though it’s a pretty cool introduction). The creator says:

Not really. While I find it conceivable that a motivated reader might be able to learn a bit about loops, variables, scales, or rhythms while using JAZZARI, I don’t  think that JAZZARI is a particularly good tool for learning about programming or music. Bret Victor has persuasively argued in Learnable Programming, that making conventional programming environments superficially friendlier, “adorning a JavaScript editor with badges and mascots” does little to support novice programmers. If people manage to learn a bit about quarter notes or JavaScript while using JAZZARI, it will be because they are motivated and patient, not because JAZZARI is well designed for educational purposes. There might be the slightest twinkle of a constructionist sandbox here, but even saying that is slightly disingenuous.

If you’re interested in environments that have been designed specifically to teach programming, check out LOGO or Scratch. Sam Aaron’s Sonic Pi is designed to teach programming through music composition. Ear Sketch is another.

If you’re interested in interactive music tutorials, I recommend Ableton’s Learning Music, NYU’s musedlab, and Funklet.

Check out Jazzari and get coding: jackschaedler.github.io/jazzari

How to get your music heard online for independent artists

These days you can put your music online for millions, perhaps billions, to hear it – eliminating the need for big money-grabbing record labels. But with such a giant potential audience how do you get people to listen to your music?

The internet has got to be the best tool ever created for independent musicians, producers, DJs and independent record labels; opening up a worldwide platform to put your music on for pennies or even free. The problem with having such a vast landscape of music is that it’s filled with everyone else’s, and standing out from the crowd is harder than ever. These tips will help you make the most of everything you have available to you.

Sharing

There are loads of places to share your music online but which one do you choose? Why not all of them!
The best way to make sure you’re reaching everyone you can, drawing in potential new fans is to use every tool at your hands.

YouTube: YouTube is free to upload videos and has the biggest audience of any video site ever. If you have a music video then YouTube is undoubtedly the best place to put it. Even if you just have tracks with no visuals there’s no reason not to upload them – you can create a cool lyric video, have some nice images in the background or even just put the album art. As long as it’s there for people to hear!

Facebook: Whether you like Facebook or not, having an artist page is vital to keeping fans. It’s a one-stop shop accessed by people everyday where you can post updates about the bands, post videos on their fast growing video platform, share interviews and news, or even just post memes if you want to shamelessly grow your likes. Make sure you set up your page with plenty of information and links to your other sites as it will likely be where most of your new fans go to find out about you.

Twitter: Twitter is a funny one – it’s not as important as Facebook or YouTube but can still create massive traction. It’s a really easy way to interact with fans and a simple place to share any updates about the band. Make use of hashtags to bring in listeners who are interested in your types of music and spread your reach even further.

SoundCloud: Some consider SoundCloud the definitive indie artist site. You can create a profile and upload your music to it completely free, giving people an easy way to come and listen to your music with no hassle. However you’re unlikely to make a living through SoundCloud so whilst it may be a good promotional tool, it might not be the place to put up your entire album.

Instagram: Instagram is often overlooked as a promotion platform, but it shouldn’t be! Lots of artists use Instagram and as a testament to it’s popularity a majority of the most followed profiles are bands and musicians. It’s purely an image platform but it’s more free engagement. Share videos of your latest set or jamming a new tune, pictures of meeting fans, backstage moments, anything you want – fans don’t care they just want to see you!

Sell and Stream

In case you weren’t aware, we at RouteNote offer FREE digital distribution to all the top music stores and services. That includes Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon, Deezer and many more.

With RouteNote it’s free to sign up and all you have to do is upload your music, tell us how you’d like it to look and any metadata details. Then we’ll make sure it’s all good and send it off to stores where you can start making money; it’s that easy!

When you upload your music through our free tier you will keep 85% of all the revenue you make from any stores and streaming services.

We also offer a Premium option where you pay a small fee and keep 100% of all your earnings. The Premium tier is priced as following:

Singles – $10
EP – $20
Album – $30
Extended Album – $45
$9.99 annually ongoing
Sign up for free at www.routenote.com today and start getting your music heard.

Spotify launches app just for artists to track their fans and music streams

Spotify have just launched their Spotify for Artists app, bringing artists’ Spotify stats into their pockets wherever they go.

Spotify’s new mobile app will be a blessing to musicians and artists who want to know how their music is doing, wherever they are. It launched yesterday only on iOS, however Spotify assure users that an Android version will be coming “really soon”.

Spotify describe it as “a one-stop shop to track your new music as it goes live, control your presence on Spotify, and learn more about your listeners”. The app gives you a bunch of control over how you look and appear on your artist profile as well as giving you in-depth data on your music’s streaming performance.

From the app artists can select their ‘Artist’s Pick‘, a featured song which appears at the top of your artist profile. Your pick can be your own most recent/popular song or just a track that you love and want to share. You can also edit your playlists from the app as well as writing and editing your artist biography, a feature Spotify only recently added to the web version of Spotify for Artists.

Spotify for Artists iOS app perfromance data artists statistics stats insights

Of course beyond it’s customisation features you will have access to statistics about who’s listening to your music, how they’re listening to it, where they listen, who’s following you, and more. When your music first goes up you will have limited time access to real-time stream counts as well. Spotify said: “For the first week after your new release, the Spotify for Artists app will update instantly, every time someone pushes ‘play’, so you’ll know exactly how many times your new single EP, or Album has been streamed.”

To use the app artists will need to be verified which can be done through the Spotify for Artists website.

Sonos reveal voice-controlled speaker and plans to work with EVERY-one

Sonos have revealed a bunch of what they have planned including an Amazon Alexa powered Sonos speaker and Airplay support.

At their media event in New York City yesterday Sonos unveiled a bunch of their newest endeavours revealing some exciting news for the connected speaker makers. Get ready to start speaking to your Sonos speakers and, maybe, say goodbye to the Amazon Echo with Sonos’ competing new speakers.

Yesterday Sonos revealed the Sonos One, a long-awaited speaker containing Amazon’s artificial intelligence assistant Alexa and far field microphones. This means for the first time ever Sonos has the full capability of home speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo. Of course the Sonos One also has the benefit of superior sound quality over competing AI-powered speakers.

Using Alexa you can tell Sonos One to play from the variety of supported services including Amazon Music (of course), Pandora, iHeartRadio. Whilst Sonos themselves support major streamers like Spotify and Apple Music, they won’t be supported by voice control straight away. Spotify in particular are coming “soon” after release, but will still be supported via apps from launch.

Sonos One will launch with Alexa but they say that they have plans to add support for Google Assistant next year. Legendary Beatles producer’s son Giles Martin, who works with Sonos, said: “We absolutely envision a world where customers use Sonos One with multiple voice assistants.”  At only $199 the Sonos One is going to be a massive threat to smart speaker makers, so it’s incredibly interesting that they are teaming up to integrate their technology into Sonos.

Sonos One voice controlled Alexa powered AI speaker music streaming

Perhaps the AI technology has become more important to major tech companies like Google and Amazon? That’s not what it seems as Amazon recently boosted the sound quality in new Echo speakers. Google are also reportedly working on a ‘Home Max’ speaker which is said to be capable of high-end audio quality. Perhaps they are just keen to help out other tech-makers.

Further integration with others, (that’s kind of what this conference focused on), Sonos announced that they will be adding AirPlay 2 integration in 2018. This will add a whole host of functionality making it easier to play music from iOS, allowing multi-room connections between AirPlay speakers – not necessarily Sonos -, as well as more voice support as you will be able to use Siri on iOS and reportely the HomePod too to control your Sonos speakers.

Sonos is clearly passionate about integrating third parties into their speakers and business in a variety of ways to enhance them from all angles. At the event Sonos revealed their ‘Works With Sonos’ certification program which will give developers new possibilities to integrate hardware and software into Sonos. They’re already working with Olutron, Wink, TunesMap, Wrensilva, Alarm.com, Crestron, and iPort.

It’s going to be fascinating to see where these partnerships take Sonos in the future, and how much their introduction of voice control will impact the newly booming home speaker market.

Microsoft Groove music streaming service to be replaced with Spotify

Microsoft are shutting down Groove streaming after it launched to replace Xbox Music 2 years ago, teaming up with Spotify for music streaming instead.

It was a decent run but Microsoft have announced that Groove Music’s streaming service will run no more after the end of this year. Microsoft are teaming up with Spotify to compensate existing users with Groove passes by replacing them with Spotify Premium subscriptions.

The Groove app will continue to be usable for listening to your own music and managing your music library. After December 31st this year the Groove Music app will stop streaming music or hosting music purchases and downloads. It will essentially become Windows Media Player with a slicker looking design.

Microsoft said in their release statement:

Our partners are at the center of delivering great experiences on Windows and enabling them to shine on our platform is a top priority. By collaborating closely with industry leaders like Spotify, we can deliver the music customers want and focus on new and innovative ways to experience music.

Fortunately for those of you precious about your music libraries Groove will have a transitional period where you’ll be able to easily move your music from Groove to Spotify. You will be able to move your library starting this week for Windows Insiders and next week for everyone until “at least January 31, 2018”. Here’s how:

1. Launch the latest Groove app: Log into the latest Groove app version from the Windows Store or Xbox One. Once you’re signed into your account, you’ll see a pop-up window from Spotify with instructions on how to login or create a Spotify account.

Groove notification prompting users to transition their music to Spotify

2. Log in to Spotify:

  • If you have an existing Spotify account, you’ll be prompted to input your username and password.
  • If you’re new to Spotify, and on your PC, you’ll be asked a few basic questions to help you create an account, starting with a username.

Prompt asking users to connect Groove Music to their Spotify account by signing into Spotify or creating a new Spotify account.

3. Move your music: After signing into your Spotify account, we’ll move your music collection and playlists from Groove Music to Spotify.

Prompt to move music from Groove to Spotify

4. Play music in Spotify: The process of moving your music to your Spotify account will take a few minutes. After completing step three, you’ll be able to listen to your music library in the Spotify app!

Confirmation of music being moved to Spotify from Groove.

Remixes of Sony artists to be legalised in Dubset deal

Dubset have made a deal with their first major label, Sony, to make remixes and samples under the label legal.

Dubset are a body who have been fighting to legitimise remixes which are often the cause of legal troubles thanks to strict music copyrights. Using their unique scanning software Dubset are able to recognise any uses of other music within tracks and then credit/compensate the original artists appropriately.

Now Dubset are making a historical deal that marks their first major label partnership with Sony Music Entertainment. The deal will allow recordings under the Sony Music label to be remixed and monetised by the remixer. Rights clearances will allow the creator of the remix to make money from their unofficial recreations whilst the songwriters and artists from the music used in the track will also get compensated based on their level of inclusion in the track.

Dubset sony remixes licensing legal remix remixer dj producerAll (or at least most) of Sony’s master recordings will enter Dubset’s database. Once part of Dubset’s music ID’ing software, Mixbank, they will be able to detect musical recordings even if they have been warped, sped up, slowed down and so on. Each remix uploaded through Dubset will be sent through Mixbank to recognise any of their vast libary of music with precise credits. Sony’s library joins roughly 35,00 smaller publishers and labels which have joined up with Dubset.

Remixes are a massive part of electronic and hip-hop music and with the internet and new tech nearly anyone can create their own music with remixes and samples. With no legal grounds for release however many artists who aren’t at a stage where they can afford music licenses end up with a technically illegal song. This problem is highlighted best on SoundCloud, which is made up largely of independent producers and music makers.

Dubset are reportedly in the process of working out deals with Warner and Universal as well, the 2 other major labels. If and when they work out a deal together Dubset will be in a position to revolutionise music copyrights. At the very least a lot more DJs and producers will be able to put their work out there to fans, and bigger artists will make some extra cash while they’re at it.

Win-Win.